Photo: Flickr/Kevin Krejci
How did Ron Conway become the “Godfather of Silicon Valley”?By getting in early on some of the most important companies in tech. Through these early investments, he made money, but more importantly he made connections.
There are few, if any, essential tech companies that haven’t picked up an investment from Conway.
We’ve assembled a look at 10 of the most important investments Conway has made.
Ron Conway invested some money in Google in late nineties. At the time he was also investing a number of startups that ended up flaming out. Thanks in part to the Google investment his original angel funds ended up doing pretty well for themselves.
Conway was an early investor in PayPal, which was eventually sold to eBay. From there, the early PayPal employees went onto found/invest in dozens of companies. Getting in good with them was smart.
Conway was an early investor in Twitter. It's currently valued at over $7 billion on the private markets. If or when it goes public, or is acquired, it will be a great investment for Conway.
We were told that Conway was helped Hot Potato get acquired by Facebook. This probably didn't do much from a money perspective for Conway, but it gives him another in at Facebook, and it establishes him as the kind of guy that can find a nice soft landing for one of his portfolio companies.
Conway was an instrumental player in Yahoo's acquisition of Associated Content for $100 million. Yahoo EVP Hilary Schneider, who worked on the deal, considers Conway a mentor. She was CEO of Red Herring Magazine, which Conway invested in and was on the board of.
Conway is an investor in location based social network Foursquare. Foursquare has already rejected a $125 million offer from Yahoo. It's currently looking to raise a new round of money at a $500 million valuation. On paper, this is already a great investment.
Conway was an early investor in Facebook. It will IPO in the next year, delivering a serious return to his portfolio.
Ben Horowitz was CEO and founder of Opsware. Marc Andreessen was chairman. Conway was an early investor in the company. Horowitz and Andreessen now run one of the biggest VC firms in the Valley. Both are uber-plugged in to what's happening in Valley, which obviously helps Conway.
Conway recently signed up to invest $150,000 in every startup coming out of Y Combinator, the startup accelerator run by Paul Graham. He's doing it through The Start Fund, which he and Russian investor Yuri Milner started. This will give Conway an inside track on the next class of super hot startups.
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